Signing Up for Summer Sports? Don't Forget a Sports Physical

Sports camps and team play are some of the best parts of summer. Make sure your child is ready to participate by coming in to Penguin Pediatrics for a sports physical. 

It’s easy to skip this seemingly “extra” visit to the pediatrician, but the sports physical ensures your child is ready to perform at their best out on the field, track, court, or mound.

Umesh Kodu, MD, and Andrea McKennon, MD, are pediatric specialists who happily provide sports physicals to children and adolescents in Ashburn and Stone Ridge, Virginia. Call Penguin Pediatrics so we can schedule your child’s physical before the summer season starts.

Does my child really need a sports physical?

If your child is going to be active in sports this summer, they really need a physical. Your child’s camp or club recreation league team may even require one, as it helps them understand their members and adjust the program accordingly.

Even when a sports physical isn’t a necessary requirement for play, it’s a smart step. The doctor makes sure your child’s immunizations and screenings are up to date. 

If your child has a care plan for a chronic condition, like asthma or diabetes, they can also adjust it to account for more physical activity. This care plan should be communicated to the coaches or camp counselors at your child’s program.

What conditions are evaluated at a sports physical?

During a sports physical, the doctor may identify an underlying condition that could cause health complications during sports practice and play. They can give you tools to help your child manage allergies or an asthma attack so they enjoy their summer season. 

The Penguin Pediatrics team also checks your child’s muscle strength and reflexes. They identify imbalances that might lead to injury. You may even be referred to a specialist in physical therapy or sports medicine to correct any concerning imbalances.

What happens during the physical exam?

A sports physical is similar to, but not quite the same as, your child’s annual exam. When you first come to Penguin Pediatrics, a staff member records your child’s basic health statistics, like height, weight, temperature, blood pressure, heart rate, and oxygen saturation.

Dr. Kodu or Dr. McKennon then reviews your child’s health history and asks for any updates or current symptoms. They check your child’s vision, listen to their heartbeat, and assess their breathing. They also check your child’s reflexes, posture, joints, and flexibility. 

A sports physical is usually the same for boys and girls, but if your child is near or has gone through puberty, the doctor may ask some gender-specific questions. 

How can a sports physical improve my child’s athletic experience?

A sports physical identifies any health concerns or issues that could interfere with your child’s performance. Identifying these issues early means you can get treatment and the doctors can recommend medications or other therapies so they can still enjoy play.

The pediatric team may also be able to provide your child with tips to avoid injury, like wearing a helmet or other protective gear when appropriate. They may also offer dietary guidance to make sure your child gets the fuel they need to maintain a healthy weight. For girls, the doctor can provide nutrition recommendations to support menstruation and optimal bone density, too.

If your child is planning to play a sport this summer, schedule them for a sports physical at Penguin Pediatrics. Call one of our offices in Stone Ridge or Ashburn, Virginia, or use the online tool for an appointment.

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